Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn have been branded “political posers” who are threatening jobs in Fife by campaigning for Trident to be scrapped.
Gary Smith, Scottish secretary of the GMB union, hit out at “infantile” Labour and SNP politicians who want rid of the nuclear deterrent and claimed it put his members’ livelihoods at risk.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme he intends to challenge First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to a debate in front of workers after she pledged to make it an election issue in May’s Holyrood election campaign.
Mr Smith said: “This is student politics, this is an utterly indulgent debate, these are political posers who, rather than talking about real issues or taking up real concerns of the working class communities, are happier on marches threatening to sack workers in Scotland.
“And, by the way, the workers who will go if Trident isn’t renewed aren’t just at the lower Clyde. It will be at BAE systems and Rosyth too.
“Now we have got the perverse position where Labour politiciansare marching to have Rosyth and BAE Systems on the upper Clyde closed as well.”
The union leader also warned the GMB would consider its position on its continuing support for Labour if the UK party – which is currently reviewing its policy on Trident – adopts an official position against it.
And he slammed the “political elite”, who he said campaigned on the nuclear deterrent over “lattes in Islington and Holyrood”, for being in confrontation with the “organised working class”.
The UK’s four nuclear-armed submarines are based at Faslane on the Clyde from where they are sent out to patrol the world’s seas.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay, Mr Corbyn’s campaign manager, stressed the need to “maintain jobs” as he argued for disarmament.
He said: “I’m not a big latte fan myself and Gary Smith is quite entitled to his views and to protect his members’ positions but I think language like that is really unhelpful.
“This is a very, very serious debate which is taking place.”
First Minister Ms Sturgeon and Labour leader Mr Corbyn attended an anti-Trident rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.
Addressing the rally, Ms Sturgeon said: “There have been reports that the Tories have been fretting about when to hold their parliamentary vote on Trident renewal.
“They were worried that opponents of Trident might make it an election issue over the next couple of months.
“Well, we have a message for them: you bet we’re going to make it an election issue.”